If you’ve been doing even half decent so far this season in your fantasy league, chances are that you’re in for a rude awakening this week.
That’s because due to one of the best (or worst) slate of teams on their bye this week, you will have some gaps in your lineup. That’s right, all of your Bills, Cowboys, Chargers, Jaguars, Steelers and Vikings will be sitting on their couches this weekend, just like you.
By our count, that accounts for four top-10 fantasy QBs, seven of the top 20 RBs, 10 top-30 WRs and two of the top four TEs.
That’s a lot of good meat left on the bone, so expect a low-scoring week overall. Search for players on waivers with good matchups, but don’t go overboard dropping players that might have long-term value if your team can take a loss. Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone is going to suffer through byes equally and having a bunch of guys off this week only means that you’ll be at an advantage on other weeks when you can all-out.
At this point, it’s easier to name the members of the Cleveland Browns that aren’t injured.
Missing from Thursday night’s game were QB Baker Mayfield, RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt while Odell Beckham Jr. entered the game with a shoulder injury that he would aggravate. Pre-game, Donovan Peoples-Jones suffered a groin injury and was ruled out and late in the game Jarvis Landry – who just returned from the IR — limped off with an injury, though the team says it isn’t serious.
Well, the Browns backups got it done on the field, scoring a 17-14 victory, but only one really shone in the fantasy realm: D’Ernest Johnson. Cleveland’s third-string RB was dominant on the ground, rushing for 146 yards and scoring 23.8 fantasy points. We’d go as far as to speculate that if even one of those top two RBs remains sidelined, Johnson will have some fantasy value and will be in FLEX consideration.
The passing game is one to avoid, though. Case Keenum targeted 10 different players and with Austin Hooper leading the way with 42 yards.
A GIANT PROBLEM
Kadarius Toney has already become a massive part of the Giants offence – and that was bad news for the team after he left last week’s game after aggravating an ankle injury. He been ruled out this week, along with fellow stars Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay, but the rookie WR is our focus here.
Toney has seen a target on 38.5% of his routes over the past three games, which is a higher rate than stud WRs Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams over that stretch.
Giants QB Daniel Jones admitted that the game plan against the Rams last week heavily included Toney, which was then shot after he left the game. Toney is definitely a player to hold on to for the long run.
DESHAUN DEAL COMING?
Earlier this week it was reported that the Dolphins and Texans are closing in on a deal involving Deshaun Watson, who has yet to play this season due to several factors that started with a rift between the player and management and then got even more complicated when the QB was hit with numerous sexual harassment claims. The latter is still a matter for the court and the NFL has yet to reveal anything about its investigation.
On the surface, you’d guess that the Dolphins would’ve done their due diligence and that Watson will be able to play after a trade goes through, but that remains to be seen.
Watson would be a clear upgrade over Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami WRs would see a big boost. One player to keep an eye on is Will Fuller V, who put up career numbers last year in Houston with the QB.
As for Tagovailoa, who has struggled to find his footing in two turbulent seasons, reports are that he could be shipped to Washington. With Taylor Heinicke struggling to fill in for injured Ryan Fitzpatrick in D.C., it could be the fresh start Tua needs.
As for this week, Tagovailoa is a decent play against a soft Falcons defence and his top target, Jaylen Waddle will look to build off last week’s breakout performance.
Another Dolphin to keep note of: Mike Gesicki. He’s listed as a TE, but has played just 16 snaps this season in-line, compared to 164 in the slot and 70 out wide. He is clearly more receiver than blocker.
Start Matt Ryan, QB, ATL at MIA
Averaged 25.2 points over his two games before the bye and will have top target Calvin Ridley back.
Sit Daniel Jones, QB, NYG vs. CAR
Turnover-prone Jones was back in full form last week and he’ll be missing a bunch of weapons again.
Start Chuba Hubbard, RB, CAR at NYG
The Panthers want to focus more on the run and the Canuck remains the top dog with Christian McCaffrey on IR.
Sit Khalil Herbert, RB, CHI at TB
Damien Williams could return from the COVID list to split the carries in an already-tough matchup.
Start Darnell Mooney, WR, CHI at TB
The Bucs pass defence remains ripe for the picking and Mooney scored his first TD of the season last week.
Sit Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN at BAL
Has just five catches for 31 yards over the past two games and has taken a backseat in the offence.
Start Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, WAS vs. GB
Has done well since taking over for the injured Logan Thomas, with 20.4 points over his two starts.
Sit Robert Tonyan, TE, GB at WAS
Last year’s touchdown monster is a dud, with a total of 6.2 points over his past four games.
San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk has eight receptions and one touchdown this season. Dallas Cowboys defensive back Trevon Diggs has seven interceptions and two touchdowns.
ADD OF THE WEEK
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE
After a lot of pre-season hype, a fumble on his first career carry got him in the doghouse for weeks. But the rookie has seen an increased workload in the past two weeks and could earn more.
DROP OF THE WEEK
Taylor Heinicke, QB, WAS
He has averaged just 11 points over the past two weeks and that includes last week’s matchup against a Chiefs defence that had been torched the previous four weeks.
WAIVER WIRE DEFENCE
New England Patriots DEF
After being dropped by many for their matchup with Dallas last week, the Pats now face a Zach Wilson-led Jets team that they dominated back in Week 2.